Bertha Idaho was active as a recording artist in the late-1920s, but recorded only four songs in 1928 and 1929.
Little is known of her life outside of music.
Idaho's singing career commenced in 1910s, in a traveling song and dance act with her husband John. In 1915, the twosome appeared with the Florida Blossom Minstrels and, in Milledgeville, Georgia, performed "Jelly Roll" and "Brother Low Down".
The full catalogue of recorded material in her lifetime comprised the songs; "Graveyard Love" (1928), "You've Got the Right Eye, But You're Peeping at the Wrong Keyhole" (1928), "Down on Pennsylvania Avenue (1929)", and "Move It on Out of Here" (1929). These were recorded at two separate sessions on May 2, 1928, and May 25, 1929, respectively in New York.
In 1929, Tom Delaney had composed "Down on Pennsylvania Avenue", using in the lyrics his own bad luck lines; "Now if you want good lovin' and want it cheap, just drop around about the middle of the week, when the broad is broke and can't pay rent, get good lovin' boys, for 15 cents." There is some confusion as to whether Delaney, or Clarence Williams, supplied the piano accompaniment to Idaho's recordings. According to the gramophone record labels, three of the songs were composed by Delaney, but "You've Got the Right Eye, But You're Peeping at the Wrong Keyhole" credits Idaho as the songwriter.
Her stage career ran alongside her recordings. In 1928, she starred in Mississippi Steppers, a touring review in the vaudeville style, and the following year in Georgia Peaches, which she also co-produced.
Idaho's work may have remained obscure, but for two main factors.
Firstly in 1959, John Fahey's debut album, Blind Joe Death was released by Takoma Records. Less than one hundred copies of this first album were pressed. However, Fahey included Idaho's name into the liner notes for the album, which gained more significance via later re-recordings.
In addition, Rosetta Reitz's music collections were built on old 78 rpm records of lesser-known performers including Bertha Idaho, Valaida Snow, Georgia White, Bessie Brown, and Maggie Jones; plus long lost songs from better-known artists such as Ida Cox, Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Mae West. Reitz's collection paid particular attention to the blues queens of the 1920s. Reitz's reissuing output was on her own Rosetta Records label.